HIV among African Americans

Understanding this epidemic

In honor of Black History Month, the Ethnicity and Health in America Series is highlighting HIV in the African-American community. Our focus on HIV among African-Americans this month coincides with a national focus on HIV among Black Americans. February 7, is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, designed to get the African American community to understand the extent to which it is infected and affected by HIV. Prevalence rates for HIV infection among African Americans have now reached epidemic proportions:

  • African-Americans make up approximately 14 percent of the population of the United States. Yet in 2009, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of the new HIV/AIDS diagnoses.1

  • African American men account for 70 percent of the new infections, so that 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed at some point in their lifetime.

  • Thus, the number of African Americans living with HIV infection was found to be almost eight times higher than the rate for their Caucasian counterparts.

  • African Americans with HIV/AIDS are dying at a disproportionately high rate — nearly 10 times the rate of Whites.1

1CDC, 2011